Florida Flip Game
“Jook it Johnnie!
“Throw it in the alley!
“You got this kid,” Big Sweet yelled to his apprentice.
John Mote blew on the dice he rolled around in his hands. Like caressing a lover, he loved the feel of the warm wood between his palms. He remembers the first time Big Sweet put a pair of dice in his hands and told him to throw. He was only twelve. He’s twenty-five now and every time he touches a pair of dice he gets that same feeling of excitement, that sense of awe and a touch of knowing.
John looked around the room at the men playing the skin game and the small fortune on the table. They all waited for his throw especially Wally Kroger. There were always men who thought they could predict the odds. Old Wally looked calm but John knew he sweated bullets. He predicted John would have crapped out long ago; betting against John throwing a seven under stress. He had bet the house on it in fact.
Big Sweet told him years ago that a good gambler never bet against the house. “The house never loses son,” he said. “They always play to win.” They had travelled all over and John knew that to be true. The last time they wagered against the house, Big Sweet got his right hand smashed, it hasn’t been right since.
They had always played the game straight, no switching up with loaded, sanded, shaved or cooked dice. They didn’t need that, Big Sweet taught him Rhythmic. He knew casinos didn’t like it, but it’s not necessarily cheating. So okay they were banished from a few casinos, including Old Wally, but to their credit they didn’t know this spot was his.
Tonight though, John had to go against the house for Big Sweet. Old Wally and his boys had him and Big Sweet in a pinch. They knew he had talent with the dice and won a small fortune so far, but that money and their lives were in jeopardy now. If he threw a seven, he and Big Sweet were dead. If he threw anything other than a nine Old Willy, the house would lose, which meant him and Big Sweet were still dead. To add to the drama they were making him use three dice instead of the normal two.
“High, Jack, game,” one side called.
“Low and not ashamed,” came from the other in the game that no one could win.
It was now or never. John looked at Big Sweet, their eyes connected. Their only out, a maneuver no one saw coming.
“Let’s see it.” Old Willy gave him a mocking look, like a cat that swallowed the cannery.
John turned to the green table, kissed his hand and smile.
The dice flew from his hand in a graceful motion that drew everyone’s eyes. They followed the dice as the small pieces of wood hit the back of the table and rolled to a stop on the number….
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